July 28 is a big day in the life of Melvin Mora. On this date in 2000 (yes, nine years ago), he arrived in Baltimore with three long-forgotten players (Mike Kinkade, anyone?) in the trade that sent shortstop Mike Bordick to the Mets. In those days, even the most pie-in-the-sky fans probably wouldn't have guessed that the 28-year-old shortstop with a .726 OPS in less than 200 career games would still be here at the end of the decade, and that he would have transformed himself into a two-time All-Star third baseman. He's 10th in team history in hits, 7th in doubles, an 9th in home runs and RBI. You might say that he was one ray of light in a dreadful series of trades that summer.
Because life is full of odd coincidences, Melvin and wife Gisele welcomed their quintuplets into the world exactly one year after he joined the O's: July 28, 2001. Things were a bit touch-and-go at first, but all five children - Genesis, Rebekah, Jada, Christian, and Matthew - are all happy and healthy on this, their eighth birthday.
Of course, I'm not going to sit here and pretend that Melmo's career is just buzzing along with no signs of trouble. He's having a miserable year, having missed a chunk of time with a hamstring injury and producing only three home runs and 27 RBI when healthy. His current .668 OPS is his worst since his abbreviated rookie season with the Mets. With the Orioles holding an option to renew his contract for 2010 for $8 million or to buy it out for $1 million, it's highly likely that this is his farewell tour in Baltimore. I admire Melvin for professing that he wants to stay here and finish his career second in team history in games played at third base (which he should achieve by the end of the year), his suggestion that he wants to play for four more years seems like wishful thinking. But no matter what the near future holds, it's been a good run for him in Charm City.